December 8, 2005
As Rabbi Harold Schulweis wrote ("Interfaith Dialogue Can Bring Change," Nov. 25), interfaith dialogue is indispensable for countering mainline Christian divest-from-Israel campaigns. But dialogue alone simply has not and cannot turn the tide, much as we wish it could.
Despite the rabbi's claim, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has not revoked its 2004 divestment resolutions, and other denominations are still active in the larger, well-orchestrated campaign to demonize Israel and turn divestment into this era's cause celebre.
The church effort is especially dangerous because it legitimizes anti-Israel propaganda and is influenced by Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian group that has infused anti-Semitism into the debate. Many of us attended Sabeel conferences and heard the lies and distortions this purportedly Christian 'peace' group uses to whip up support.
If the tide does turn, it will be because many Christians mobilized to revoke the resolutions, because pro-Israel activists protested and exposed these groups and because some Jewish leaders sent a forceful, clear message that divestment would seriously damage interfaith relations and hopes for peace.
The Jewish community should not be lulled into thinking interfaith dialogue alone will solve the problem.
We must continue to act forcefully on all fronts: dialogue, supporting Christian friends, exposing the lies in divestment resolutions and firmly asserting that demonization of Israel is unacceptable.
Roberta P. Seid
Director of Research and Education
and Member Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East
and Member Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East
I was so saddened upon the death of Rabbi Tucker ("Car Crash Claims Northridge Rabbi," Nov. 18).
He is not a man I knew at all well, except through the programs and Tot Shabbat services he conducted at Temple Ramat Zion, where my grandchildren are students in the preschool. He had such a sweet and gentle manner with the children.
The speculations and conversations regarding his passing went on endlessly, and clearly, his family wanted and needed to have complete privacy.
When it became clear that his death was through extraordinary circumstances, it was not the place of The Jewish Journal to report those particulars. Simply printing an obituary, along with the highlights of his life and the comments of colleagues, should have been enough.
It was indeed sensationalistic journalism on your part to discuss the specifics, and this, too, must have further troubled Tucker's family.
Better judgment on the part of the writing staff should have been used, and I hope that in the future, you will consider the long-range implications of your words.
Swastika in Binder
I would like to respond to Elizabeth Chase's article on "The Swastika in My Binder" printed on Dec. 2. I was elated to read that someone had the guts to write in and state that this type of action of inscribing a swastika, in a high school no less, is in fact a "hate crime."
I think back to 1997, when my family moved us from Manhattan to the Deep South, in Atlanta. My parents enrolled me in a Christian preparatory school, Westminster, as it was one of the best prep schools in the Southeast.
I remember coming out of chemistry class, and the most beautiful girl walked up to me and stopped me in the hallway. I thought, wow, this girl wants to get to know me.
She asked me: "I want to know if it's true what everyone is saying, are you really a Jew?"
I responded, "Yes."
And she did a 180 and walked away from me, never again acknowledging my existence. Other kids in school treated me the same. They either ignored me or picked fights with me.
But the point that I'd like to make is this: I did nothing about it. I let them do this to me. Maybe it was because I was outnumbered. Or perhaps I put the fault on myself for just not being able to fit in.
The real truth is that there is anti-Semitism in America in schools. And to let people walk on us while remaining quiet would be like replaying how the Holocaust began.
Therefore, Elizabeth, what you just did was a giant leap; something that I never did in my three years of anti-Semitic abuse in the South.
So, thank you for standing up, because if we don't, who ever will?
Stick to Issues
I was shocked at David Klinghoffer's attack on Abe Foxman in your Thanksgiving issue ("ADL Stokes Fear as Ploy to Raise Funds," Nov. 25). Reasonable people can disagree on whether fundamentalist Christianity is a threat to American Jews, but where Foxman lays out a rational argument, Klinghoffer attacks Foxman in a very personal way. Klinghoffer should stick to the issues. He might be more convincing.
As a 33-year-old "South Park Conservative," I found the Republican Jewish Coalition conferees hip, young, fun and optimistic ("Lincoln's Party Parties," Dec. 2). What The Jewish Journal fails to understand is why middle-class people like me are Republicans. The answers are twofold:
1) My parents are retired teachers who owned no stocks but did possess common sense. They worked hard, emphasized honor and integrity and wanted their government to do what government should do: lower their taxes and leave them alone. They left Long Island for South Florida and a lower tax burden in a nicer house.
2) My father is a Holocaust survivor, rendering me unable to sing "Kumbaya" with homicidal lunatics whose main objection to the Jewish community (and all Americans) is our obstinate refusal to allow them to murder us.
We are at war. The fate of the world is at stake. Civilization or barbarianism is the choice. Barbarianism must lose. Civilization must win.
Republicans understand that the reason Barbra Streisand can charge people $25,000 per concert and The Jewish Journal can distribute its newspaper is because American soldiers are fighting and dying for these freedoms.
The Republican Party is totally committed to reducing taxes, killing terrorists and leaving people alone when they wish to teach their children parental values, not governmental values.
For these reasons, I, along with ever-increasing multitudes of young Jews, are committed to the GOP.
Marc Ballon's coverage of the Republican Jewish Coalition All-California Conference was more witty than wise. There is a rule of history that is as axiomatic as plane geometry: Yesterday's revolutionaries have a way of becoming today's insufferable bureaucrats and tomorrow's tyrants.
Contemporary liberalism, being true to the cycle, is quickly moving from the "insufferable bureaucrat" stage to the "tyrant" stage. Jews have a record of bitter experience with this cycle and the warning signs are everywhere.
This is not just a Jewish phenomenon.
Members of the Spanish-speaking community tend to be devout Catholics and have very traditional values. They are miles away from being "Brentwood politically correct."
Furthermore, it is no coincidence that some of the most articulate conservative voices in our nation are black Americans; they have suffered most from liberal tyranny.
The time is nigh for the Jewish, black and Spanish-speaking communities to join hands in casting off the pharaoh of contemporary liberalism.
Rabbi Louis J. Feldman
Take a Chance
I have to respond to Amy Klein's singles article ("He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Dated," Nov. 25). In regards to her wanting to say "Me ... what's wrong with me," why not say it?
And this is what really gets me: Guys can't read minds or some of the subtle clues like women expect us to. Let us know you are interested.
What is the worst that can happen? Rejection? Waa waa, your poor fragile ego! Guys get rejected constantly. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
We may just want to be friends, or we may be dying for the hint or knock over the head to let us know you are interested. Sure "The Rules" may advise against it. But what have you got to lose?
You might be the one that we have been waiting for. The one that we are willing to commit to and give up the waitresses for.
Remember men and women are different. Use your friendships to understand men and find a way to use that knowledge to turn that "friendly" conversation into a potential romantic one.
Dan He-Who-Could-Be-Dated(name withheld by request)
I testified at the briefing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on campus anti-Semitism and disagree that any of the commissioners were "testy" or unsympathetic to the hostility that Jewish students are facing on our college campuses ("Libby, Judaism and the Leak Probe," Nov. 11).
All of the commissioners expressed concern about the problem, though legitimate questions were raised about how best to address it without impinging on constitutionally protected rights.
In fact, the commission expressed an interest in issuing and circulating a publication to inform students of the protections afforded them under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act.
This would be an important step in helping Jewish students be aware that if their university administrations are failing to address any harassment, intimidation or discrimination they are experiencing, legal recourse is available.
Susan B. Tuchman
New York, N.Y.
Where's the Justice?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. The exception appears to be former Jewish Defense League (JDL) members. Let's summarize the information provided in The Jewish Journal article ("JDL's Krugel Killed in Phoenix Prison," Nov. 11): In 1990, Rabbi Meir Kahane is assassinated while giving a speech. In spite of hundreds of witnesses, his murderer gets off scot-free. In 2002, Irv Rubin dies in a Los Angeles jail. Officials call it a suicide, although his family suspects he was murdered. Now, Krugel is murdered in a Phoenix jail, yet FBI and prison authorities are silent on the matter.
Who killed Krugel and why isn't there an investigation? Are the deaths of Rubin and Krugel related? As Jews, we should ask: Where is the justice? Where is the outcry?
Dr. Ted Friedman